Demand for our wheels is worldwide. We ship all the way to Australia, Japan, Malaysia, parts the Middle East, South Africa, Europe especially the Nordic countries (those guys love our wheels). Our largest customer base is North America with the Americans being our largest purchasers. They have a real love for FIKSE Wheels.
PM: What is FIKSE’s plans for the upcoming year and/or short term?
Plans for the upcoming year are to keep growing the brand, to keep expanding into new markets, and to keep delivering a high-quality wheel. We want to get back into supporting racing. As you know, FIKSE has a great championship legacy in Grand American Rolex Series, American Le Mans, Grand American Koni Challenge, as well as multiple wins at the 24 hours of Daytona and Le Mans. Most recently, we were the official wheel for the SVRA in 2018.
We’re in talks with the International GT series which fits our brand well, due to car manufacturers associated with the series – Porsche, Audi, BMW and/or North American cars. We’re also working with the North American TransAm series to help supply teams with an 18-in three-piece wheel. We see a lot of merit in working with endurance racing organizations like Lucky Dog. We can provide them with a three-piece wheel that would help them with great strength, improved performance, and unmatched reliability. Our wheels can go a long way for a small team with a small budget.
PM: Thank you Mr. Gladstone! Now please excuse me while I go take my Supra out and show off the new wheels. My bad—it’s 5 degrees F and snowing outside, I think I’ll just walk into the garage and gawk at them some more…and also at my next project at the bottom!
Okay if you care to read about my sheer-dumb-luck-as-to-why-I-am-even-here-writing-articles-ever story? It started in the summer of 1996 (remember, no social media). At a movie theater, I ran into an old school mate, Andrew, who was in a particular network-marketing deal, which I quickly got hooked on. His “up-line” was big on BMW M3s, and Andrew–along with a couple of other guys in the group–all drove them. I loved riding in his. Remember how excited I was for the recent E36 M3 launch.
By December 1996 I took delivery of my own ’97 sedan (which was Estoril blue–the same color as Project Supra). I couldn’t believe I had one. To this day that’s the only car I have ever purchased new. By the summer of 1997, I left Southern California to work with his up-line boss in South Bend, IN and St. Joseph, MI. I was 22 years old. The only issue was that I wasn’t enjoying it up there.
Immediately I went to the office, searched out the map of our other offices, and found there was one in Miami–and I’d always wanted to visit there. I immediately looked up the number to an old friend of mine (another Pablo), who I found now lived there. “Bro, I’m coming to stay with you a while, and leaving tomorrow!” So, literally the next day, I packed my near-new M3 full of product and some clothes, and drove south for 21 hours straight. At 22, I loved Miami.
I mentioned earlier the “Storm Warning” feature article in EC that changed my life. Within a month of being there, I drove by a Boston Market and noticed what looked like to be a modified Avus Blue 1995 BMW M3. The “AA Tuning” decal was on the windshield! This had to be the one I saw on the cover of the May 1997 edition of european car Magazine. I pulled in and hurried inside. Scoping the place out, I tried to stereotype the best I could to find the owner–and there was Enrique with his hat backwards. “Is that yours out there? And is it the same M3 that was on the cover of european car?” He confirmed.
You have to realize, back then I didn’t have a cell phone, and barely any access to the internet since I didn’t have a computer. Coming from California, this was a huge find! I didn’t even know Active Autowerke was in Miami. “Meet me here friday, you can follow me to AA,” Enrique said. Oh man I was so there.
At AA I got to meet brother Karl and Mike Hugh, two unassuming Chinese-Jamaicans that had the passion for turbo power. “Turn up the boost, mon!” I can still here Karl’s cool Jamaican accent to this day. Well, long story short, not only did his cars change my future as mentioned earlier, but Karl also got me in contact with then-EC editor Les Bidrawn. See, you have to understand, back then you couldn’t go find these guys on social media and message them–these guys were like celebrities you couldn’t contact.
In similar fashion, I met the AA/FIKSE-equipped M3’s owner I talked about earlier, my friend Larry, shortly after meeting the AA guys. Again, it was just by chance, and at a gas station in downtown Miami. I recognized the AA badge on his trunk right away and–once again–I couldn’t resist asking about his car. He and I hit it off. Within weeks we were hanging out almost every night, driving up and down I-95 or US-1, just enjoying the rush of that car. Those were good times.
By 1998 I returned to CA to finish college, and upon graduating in 2000 I reached out to EC (it took me four months to get an interview!), and started working there, eventually doing my own project with AA on my 2nd M3 (the FIKSE-equipped black “Vader M3”), followed by this Supra two years later, and the rest is history–and all because of someone I ran into at the movies in ’96. Thanks for letting me reminisce.